CapitolPlungerby Gary Wood

In the original intent of our U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 8 provided enumerated powers for the federal or general government with all other powers remaining with the States or with the People.

One of those enumerated is the power “[t]o regulate Commerce with foreign nations and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes,” which we refer to as the ‘Commerce Clause.’ It seemed like a straight forward power which would help overcome some of the challenges the states were dealing with under the Articles of Confederation. Interstate commerce had become extremely complex with each state setting its own currency and regulations causing significant obstacles to economic transactions between states.

Among the limited functions the state representatives felt the federal government could assist in was to create a regular means for making commercial interactions easier. The 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines regulate;


1. To adjust by rule, method or established mode; as, to regulate weights and measures; to regulate the assize of bread; to regulate our moral conduct by the laws of God and of society; to regulate our manners by the customary forms.

2. To put in good order; as, to regulate the disordered state of a nation or its finances.

3. To subject to rules or restrictions; as, to regulate trade; to regulate diet.

Among the states referred to interstate activity alone, not intrastate among the people. Intrastate commerce fell under the protection and duty of the 10th Amendment. Additionally, rules imposed on interstate commerce were to be no more than necessary to help transactions take place “in good order.” In 1824 Chief Justice John Marshall understood the limited nature of the federal level responsibility, in Gibbons v. Ogden, and the precedent set in this case stood until the mid 1930s.

According to Thomas Woods, Jr and Kevin Gutzman, as written in Who Killed the Constitution;

In 1937, however, the Court abandoned its attempt to set limits to the Commerce Clause power and to enforce theTenth Amendment. No longer would the Court be in the business of drawing a line between the federal and state authority, as it had been intended to do. Instead, it would allow Congress to do almost anything it wanted to do on the basis of the Commerce Clause. (p. 106)

When you think about the many infringements on you, your neighbors, and your states it is a good bet you will be able to track those infringements to some abuse under the usurped authority of today’s Commerce Claws.

killed-the-constitutionWhen people ask if Obama Care is constitutional career politicians scoff since anything they conceive will be upheld by an out of control system shredding the final bits of either the states or peoples authority to control our commercial dealings. All that has been done with the Commerce Claws, from FDR to BHO, has been done under the pretense of helping us economically.

As our economic freedom diminishes so does our political freedom, they are tied together. The less control we have of one the less control we have of the other. As our political factions gain more direct power over our economy they secure positions of authority. This is why you cannot listen to a debate on Obama Care without hearing how it will impact the 2010 races. Those opposing are doing so merely in hopes of garnering votes while those supporting it are doing it for the same reason. However, each major faction is racing against time as they maneuver toward a day when votes will not be necessary to maintain their positions.

As Milton Friedman stated, “Economic freedom is also an indispensable means toward the achievement of political freedom.” If we, the people, are to save our freedom in both realms (economic and political) we must demand more than a stop to Obama Care. Stopping health care reform only stops it this time, as we did in the 90s with Hilary Care, and as we did in the 30s when it was considered too far a reach since the factions just succeeded in invoking social security and many other social controls while fitting the claws to a wrong interpretation of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3. Each time it is stopped a little control gets through; think Medicare, Medicaid and more.

The battle this time must be fought against the root problems; bad Supreme Court precedent beyond our votes and states not fulfilling their duties to provide the proper check against Constitutional violations. Each branch of government, in our Federal Republic, is duty bound by oath to nullify the actions of any other branch usurping authority beyond their granted powers. The federal branches were given the fewest powers yet today they are largely controlling our lives.

So, write to your Senators and Representatives, but don’t forget to write to each level. Study our history and learn all you can about the importance of the Tenth Amendment. Then, in 2010 find local candidates who understand their duty to defend the Tenth Amendment while checking the powers of the federal beast. It is time to clip the beasts’ claws.

Gary Wood is the State Chapter Coordinator for the Utah Tenth Amendment Center. He works with the Utah 912 States’ Rights Coalition and Hosts March of Liberty Radio every Saturday and Sunday evening at 7pm EST on Blog Talk Radio. He is a lifetime member of the VFW among other groups but more important to him is his title of grandpa. “According to Thomas Jefferson the 10th Amendment is keystone to our Constitution. We must restore the keystone so we can secure the blessings of liberty for our posterity, a goal of our Founders and a goal we must still strive to achieve.”

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



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